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Android spam 'botnet' discovered by Microsoft researcher
Android spam 'botnet' discovered by Microsoft researcher
By: iMedia News Bureau

Android users beware; smartphones running on Google's Android software have been hijacked by an illegal botnet, according to a Microsoft researcher, reports AFP release.

Botnets are large illegal networks of infected machines - usually desktop or laptop computers - typically used to send out masses of spam email.

Microsoft security engineer Terry Zink in the MSDN blog said that the malware has infected phones of users' Yahoo email accounts to send out spam messages.He added that users in the developed world "usually have better security practices and fewer malware infections than users in the developing world."

The engineer then traced the IP addresses of the emails to various developing countries, such as Chile, Indonesia, Lebanon, Oman, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.

The Google platform has suffered from several high-profile issues with malware affected apps in recent months.The official store - Google Play - has had issues with fake apps, often pirated free versions of popular paid products like Angry Birds Space or Fruit Ninja.

Few hours after the news was released, a Google spokesperson denied the threat by saying, "The evidence does not support the Android botnet claim, our analysis suggests that spammers are using infected computers and a fake mobile signature to try to bypass anti-spam mechanisms in the email platform they're using,” according to a zdnet report.

Meanwhile, the best and easiest way to protect yourself from being roped into this kind of botnet — not to mention Android malware in general — is to only download software official Android Market, i.e Google Play 

The more you venture into third-party download sites, or when you try to get something that costs money for nothing, you’re potentially giving hackers and the bad guys a foot in the door and opening up your Android device to malware.

Security firm Symantec also found in its latest annual report that mobile malware threats are almost exclusive to Google’s open mobile OS, with an increase by more than 93% over the last year. The report found more than half of all Android threats collect device data or track users’ activities.

The spam botnet news comes soon after the reported internet blackout is expected on 9th July which will risk around quarter million computers. As of this week, about 245,000 computers worldwide were still infected by Alureon and its brethren, according to security firm Deteque, reports a Reuters release.